Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
As it turns out, Republicans owe Mark Sanford a big thank-you. Sanford was the head of the Republican Governors Association for the first half of the year, but relinquished that role after his Argentinian escapade.
With Sanford in charge, the RGA didn't do bad, raising slightly more money than the DGA. But with him gone, things got even better.
Sanford's departure meant that Mississippi Governor (and mega-fundraiser) Haley Barbour took over the job six months earlier than scheduled. With Barbour in charge, the RGA's fundraising edge has increased substantially, as CQ Politics reports:
The Republican Governor's Association raised $30 million total in 2009, topping the Democratic Governor's Association, which announced it raised $23.1 million in receipts.
And the RGA said it had more than $25 million in cash entering an election year in which 39 governor's seats are up for grab, 21 of them Democratic-held.
The DGA reported $17.5 million cash on hand, which it noted was "nearly 12 times as much cash on hand as 2006, the last equivalent election cycle."
The RGA's edge in both fundraising and cash-on-hand is especially notable compared to other Republican committees. In particular, the National Republican Campaign Committee, which tries to elect G.O.P. members to the U.S. House of Representatives, has serious financial woes.
I mentioned recently that I'm intrigued by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, in part because he just took over the DGA from Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. I'll be really intrigued if he can compete with Barbour in a money-raising contest, but that's a lot to ask.
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